In 2005, I was told that I had to take a few classes to obtain RI ESL Certification for a new job. In all honesty, I wasn’t excited at the thought of first, going back to school and second, learning anything about the field of Teaching English as a Second Language. I was excited about having a job though, so I began what I thought would be a short “educational stay” at Rhode Island College. After my first few classes with Dr. Poole in the TESL Graduate Studies Program, I realized that there was so much that I had been unaware of. Quite frankly, I felt disgusted at my own ignorance. My attitude about “going back to school” and the content I was learning began to change. I was embracing it- even more, I was hungry for it! This hunger only grew when I took a TESL class with the late Nancy Carnevale. I left each class with a figurative backpack full of information that was relevant to me, my school, my classroom, my students and I confidently brought it with me to school the very next day. I remember sitting in her classes in awe of her, taking in all that I could, repeatedly saying to myself, “I want to be her someday!” I am grateful to RIC each and every day for bringing her into my life.
After RIC had presented me with my idol, Nancy Carnevale, I had my work cut out for me. That was when another truly committed and remarkably brilliant member of the RIC faculty stepped in, Dr. Nancy Cloud. Dr. Cloud became my advisor as I applied for the M.Ed. in TESL Program at RIC. Nancy Cloud also became a role model as well as a mentor. She had high expectations for her students, but after doing a quick “Google Search” on her, I figured out why. What an impressive resume! I couldn’t believe that I was sitting before her in class. Being taught by such an established professional assured me that I was going to be well equipped to THRIVE in the world of TESL.
With tremendous pride I share that I am indeed thriving! In 2009, I earned my M. Ed. in TESL from Rhode Island College. Presently, I serve as the District ESL Teaching and Learning Intervention Specialist for the Pawtucket Public Schools in Pawtucket, Rhode Island. This year, I was appointed by Commissioner Deborah Gist to a three year term on the RI Advisory Council for English Language Learners. My work has been shared at various conventions such as MATSOL, TESOL, and the Rhode Island Best Practices Convention. Additionally, my success with curriculum development, strategy, and standards based lessons have been featured by Education Week; The Center for Applied Linguistics; as well as TESOL. Most recently, my efforts are displayed in the TESOL Classroom Practice Series, Teaching Listening: Voices From the Field.
I credit Nancy Carnevale, Dr. Nancy Cloud, along with the many other tremendous members of the RIC faculty like Dr. Janet Johnson and Dr. Susan Patterson, with my success and am eternally grateful to Rhode Island College